Friday, April 09, 2010

Off to Los Angeles

I am heading down to Los Angeles again, this time to kick off a new lecture series called "Los Angeles Luminaries."

It will be held at the Homestead Museum in the City of Industry on Sunday at 3 pm.

It's the old house of William Workman, who arrived in Los Angeles in 1841 on the first immigrant wagon train to the area.

What's neat is that Isaias Hellman, the subject of my book, Towers of Gold, started a bank in 1868 with Workman and his son- in-law. Francis Pliny Fisk Temple. The relationship didn't last long. Hellman severed ties in 1871 because he thought Temple lent money too freely, without requiring equity.

Hellman turned out to be right. Temple and Workman formed a new bank without him, and it went bust. When Workman found out that he would have to relinquish his beloved home, he committed suicide That's the home that is now a museum.

In spite of the bank fiasco, Workman and Temple were major players in the development of Los Angeles.

Hellman also did business with Workman's son, William Henry Workman. They developed Boyle Heights together.

(The picture at the top is Los Angeles in the 1870s)

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